By: Noelani Mathews | WCTV Eyewitness News
May 10, 2019
CAIRO, Ga. (WCTV) -- An NFL football player and Cairo native returned to his hometown roots on Friday.
Atlanta Falcons' J.J. Wilcox made a special trip to visit local children at the Jackie Robinson Boys & Girls Club in Cairo.
A room full of excited kids greeted him and his family wearing personalized Wilcox t-shirts in his honor.
Wilcox says the Club is where he grew up playing as a young kid, and where his mother worked before she passed.
Friday around 4 p.m., he answered kids' questions and left them all with an important message.
"Don't let anybody tell you what you can't do and just be different. I challenge each kid this year to be different. You don't have to follow the crowd or be the tough guy or the other guy you see," said Wilcox.
All local kids received an autographed picture, and the Club received an autographed football.
On Saturday, Jackie Robinson Boys and Girls Club has their annual 5K in Cairo.
The event always lands on the weekend of Mother's Day. This year the race is in honor of Marshell Wilcox, J.J.'s mother.
"She was always warm and welcoming, so it just shows a lot. I thank Cairo a lot for doing that because it means a lot to me and my family," said Wilcox.